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structuralist or culturalist,

Instructions: This is a 2 part focused writing assignment. I will provide the context, necessary information, background, as well as links and resources, needed to comply with the minimum requirements necessary to participate and complete this assignment. If you are aiming for an A or B on this assignment, I do expect that you will include additional resources and research links. These do not have to be a laundry list.  More is not better. Direct and to the point is key.  I expect additional resources be properly cited, at the end of your part 1 critical analyses.  

Part 1: Choose a Prompt and Post Reply

Minimum length of analysis is 1 page double spaced, or half page single spaced. Type it first in a word document for reference. Then, copy and paste. Formatting standards: 12 point font, times new roman, double spaced ( if 1 full page in word) otherwise single spaced (equivalent to half page in word). Must include properly formatted citations for any and all resources, links and information publications, used in your research, as well as incorporated as supporting evidence, for your critique and analysis.

I expect you to incorporate information, offering supporting evidence specifically from at least one or more of independently researched resources and links, to be discussed, mentioned and cited within either your part 1 or part 2 post, if not both.  You can just note the source when citing parenthetically, within your analyses, as long as you provide a full title, and link to the information source, listed at the end of your reply. This is what will earn you a A or B grade.

Part 2:  Critique and Rebuttal

You will not be able to review posts submitted by your peers, until you yourself have submitted your critical analysis, for Part 1.

Review your classmates posts. Select one to offer a rebuttal or critique.

Selection Criteria and Post Formatting Requirements

Cannot choose to reply to post of someone who shares your same prompt or your same position and analyses. You only have to do this once, but I encourage you all to reply and post to as many classmates posts to enhance discussion to make the course more engaging.

Minimum length of analysis is 1 page double spaced, or half page single spaced. Type it first in a word document for reference. Then, copy and paste. Formatting standards: 12 point font, times new roman, double spaced ( if 1 full page in word) otherwise single spaced (equivalent to half page in word).

Introduction and Background on Discussion Topic and Prompts

Modern political scientist debates begin with matters of what research methods are to be accepted as the best approach. Structuralists believe research, methods and analysis should focus on objective factors. Understanding political context of one’s environment can only be objectively achieved, if focus is on factors pertaining to the way in which the world is organized. Structure and organization determine politics. Therefore, the proper objects to study are power, interests, and institutions.

Culturalists prioritize subjectivity. Exploring research of objects relative to perception is the best practices methodological approach to evaluating and understanding politics. Values, opinions and psychology are argued to be more important than objective and tangible reality.

Structuralists and culturalists agree on the issue and topic of debate. For example, both groups would acknowledge and validate there is considerable emerging inertia within the United States political systems, as it pertains specifically to presidential (s)election. The methods required to achieve an explanation is the source of opposing divergence.

Take the presidential selection issue. Structuralists research and methods would rely on explanations of factors, such as electoral laws and processes.  It would be necessary to build a research method that evaluates variation or uniformity, with a state by state comparison of laws, rules, processes, and methods that govern how the state’s electoral college is selected, organized, structured, empowered, and ultimately the rules and processes that govern how presidential votes will be cast, tabulated and awarded.

A culturalist would require a research method that focuses on factors, such as public opinion. They would assume that the recent and increasing inertia behind electoral college concerns in deciding the country’s President, is most accurately and informatively explained as variable(s) dependent of people’s attitude in apathy towards voting system, all together. Or perhaps, evaluating the value in objects, like people’s obedience and acceptance of a 250 plus year old institution, that was created before modern United States’ geography. For culturalists, the root of the problem is not the governing laws and processes that structure the existence and behavior of the institution: electoral college.  The explanation requires evaluation of the governed.  Namely their values in acceptance and tolerance toward the current system. Their research and methods would be driven by a question focused more towards psychology. For example, despite a lack in federal law—outside of the constitutional creation of the electoral college institution—to uniformly mandate each state’s electoral college selection and voting processes be the same, and with the exception of 3-4 of the 50 total states, somehow the states ended up adopting the same selection and procedural system, by which their independent electoral college and its voters operate. Thus, the higher priority being placed on values of acceptance amongst the public, instead of the institutions (lack of uniformly mandated) procedural rules, guidelines and laws.

PROMPT

Decide and discuss whether you consider yourself as one of the following….either

1.) exclusively one or the other: structuralist or culturalist,

2.)  Neither, providing and discussing ideas about what you think a better approach and method to explaining current political system environments, include reasoning, examples and hypotheticals

3.) A combination, provided discussion must include identification of specific aspects from each approach that you would rely on, to achieve a balanced reasoning and rationalization to discuss and explain a more individualized approach, which you would defend as the best approach to finding the most accurate method to understanding political systems. Include any examples, along with hypothetical comparisons, explanations, or scenarios to fully explain your position.

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. You can base your response on the presidential selection and electoral college example I outlined, while introducing the prompt and topic for this current event discussion.  Your response does not require you to focus your analysis and response on the particular example I illustrated.  You can find your own. Be thorough. Be direct. Be reflective. Be thoughtful. Be a political scientist!!

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